Clever & Creative
The coastline and clear waters of southern Port Phillip are a drawcard for a range of water-based activities including fishing, diving, sailing, snorkelling and boating. Attracted by the natural values, tourism to the area is increasing and tourism offerings have expanding to include improvements in the Queenscliff Marina development, diversification of the Searoad Ferries service as well as the Port Phillip Ferries service between Portarlington, and Melbourne. The area also supports a wide range of licensed tour operators offering sailing, diving, sea kayaking, fishing, boat hire, seal and dolphin experiences etc.
Travellers are looking to immerse themselves in the natural environment with a recent tourism report stating “the greatest drivers of international visitor demand to Australia are coastal, aquatic and wildlife experiences”. Innovative and family-orientated tourism offerings such as underwater sculpture installations would encourage people to spend more time in an area, supporting the local economy through accommodation providers, activity providers and retail outlets.
All of Port Phillip and Western Port were considered as potential sites for an underwater sculpture installation. To determine suitability of sites a number of descriptors were developed in consultation with key stakeholders. Descriptors included visibility, prevailing winds, access, natural features, implications of climate change, proximity to local operators and businesses, resilience to human disturbance and existing uses.
Consultation was undertaken with relevant public land, port and foreshore management agencies. Community and local tourism operators (LTO’s) surveys were conducted to determine the enthusiasm for the project and identify elements that should be taken consideration when designing and planning an underwater sculpture installation.
The Dell at Clifton Springs offered the strongest case for an underwater sculpture installation. The Bellarine Peninsula is growing in popularity as holiday destination, easily accessed from Melbourne suburbs, Geelong and by ferry from the Mornington Peninsula. The area has a diverse range of recreation opportunities with room for expansion.
The City of Greater Geelong manages the foreshore at The Dell, Clifton Springs and have undertaken coastal stabilisation works. An underwater sculpture installation will compliment these works by further protecting the coastline and heritage values from erosion.
The project is funded and led by the City of Greater Geelong in partnership with Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine with support from Victorian public land, heritage and local port managers.